Singles round-up: Heartland murmurs

Went looking for some great country songs and found some good ones and some not-bad ones.


Brandy Clark
“Girl Next Door”

At times on the brilliant 12 Stories, Clark sang with the tentative precision of a songwriter cutting demos, but here she digs into a beat that could make Terri Gibbs talk dirty about Jesus to form a character rather than just sell a lyric. Really, though, either she, Jessie Jo Dillon or Shane McAnally should’ve scrolled through Netflix romcoms for ten seconds to find a more contemporary ingenue to bash than Marcia Brady.

 


Maren Morris
“My Church”

Subbing Hank Williams and Johnny Cash for Jesus and Paul, this lively pupil reminds us that Americans have a lousy habit of reducing joy to reverence and disguising piety as blasphemy. But she would have totally gotten away with if her beat didn’t sound like a Lumineer slapping a milk crate.

 


Cam
“Mayday”

I fell hard last Spring for the four-cut promo EP Welcome to Cam Country — two of the year’s best country singles plus the two best songs that would resurface in December on Untamed, a full-length she didn’t seem totally ready for and the original home of “Mayday,” a warning flare that sparks and smolders but never catches fire.

 


Aubrie Sellers
“Sit Here and Cry”

The sound of a bright shiny apple falling a little too close to a tree that’s already way too conscious of its roots. (I imagine Lee Ann Womack solemnly and tearfully telling her daughter, “I recorded ‘I Hope You Dance’ so that you wouldn’t have to.”) Upbeat but sane, straight-faced but not somber — that could just be another way of saying “glib,” but this ain’t quite that, so maybe Sellars is still ripening.

 


Dierks Bentley
“Somewhere on a Beach”

Another terrifically sloshed stagger of a riff from where “Drunk on a Plane” came from, but you know how sequels can get — when Dierks boasts of his new hottie “She’s got a body,” I wonder if his ex is a ghost.


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